Recent News from Engadget

The ‘villain’ in Reddit’s GameStop investor saga is shutting down

Reddit’s war over GameStop stock has claimed a major casualty. Bloomberg and The New York Times report Melvin Capital, the hedge fund considered the nemesis of the meme stock affair, is shutting down. Fund owner Gabe Plotkin told investors that the “appropriate next step” after steep losses was to liquidate assets and return cash to investors, and that it was time to “step away” from managing others’ capital. At least half of the cash will transfer by May 31st, with the rest coming by June 30th.

Melvin Capital had been a successful fund, starting 2021 with over $12 billion. However, its public bet against GameStop and other struggling companies made it one of the largest victims of a GameStop-centric investing spree by people coordinating across Reddit and social networks. Plotkin’s fund reported a 53 percent loss in January 2021, and it took a $2.75 billion cash infusion to soften the blow and keep losses down to 39 percent for the year.

The GameStop saga wasn’t the only factor involved, however. While a recovery appeared possible, Melvin posted a 23 percent loss through April that was partly linked to poor stock positions. The fund was clearly in peril after the Reddit battle — it’s just that some miscalculations finished the company once and for all.

Reddit speculators shifted their attention to BlackBerry and other companies in the aftermath of the GameStop drama, and there hasn’t been fallout on par with Melvin’s in the months since. Still, the shutdown illustrates the power of coordinated internet investors — they can demolish conventional stock managers in the right circumstances.

The Meris LVX is a powerful modular delay pedal with a slick-looking interface

Meris has been making wild sounding hi-tech guitar pedals for sometime. But its latest entry, the LVX, is perhaps the wildest entry yet. At its core the LVX is a delay pedal, but a fantastically complicated one capable of producing a wide range of soun…

‘Fortnite’ is now available to all GeForce Now users

All GeForce Now users can play Fortnite via NVIDIA’s cloud gaming service, including those with iOS and Android devices. The company started testing the game on the platform in January. It says more than 500,000 people tried it out across “hundreds of mobile device types.” The full launch of Fortnite on GeForce Now means that there’s no longer a waitlist and anyone can drop into a match. 

Feedback from beta testers helped NVIDIA optimize the touch controls and menu system. To thank them, it’s giving everyone who signed up for the beta a three-day trial for GeForce Now’s Priority plan. That offers longer game sessions than those who use the free version, along with improved visuals and access to premium servers. A three-day trial isn’t exactly the most generous perk, but it’s better than nothing.

For the time being, the only way to access Fortnite on iOS (at least without playing a console or PC remotely) is through cloud streaming. The game is also available for free through Xbox Cloud Gaming. You won’t need an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription if you go with that option.

Apple and Google pulled Fortnite from their mobile app storefronts in August 2020 amid a dispute with Epic Games. While Android users have still been able to sideload it, iOS players were effectively iced out until the cloud gaming options came into play.

Roku and Element partner for their first outdoor TV

Roku has joined forces with Element to create a 55-inch outdoor TV, the companies announced. The Element Roku TV looks like a version of Element’s Patio Series TVs that offer anti-glare and weather protection, with Roku’s smart TV operating system built in. 

In fact, the Element Roku TV looks nigh-on identical to the 55-inch Patio TV, apart from the OS. It offers a good but not spectacular 700 nits of brightness, along with 4K streaming and HDR that’s limited to HDR 10. More importantly, though, it has tempered anti-glare glass to combat reflections and IP55 weather protection that withstands water, dust and humidity. You also get “powerful built-in speakers, designed to cut through outdoor noise,” Element said.

It’s powered by Roku OS, one of the more powerful Smart TV platforms out there. You get all the streaming platforms you’d expect like Netflix, Apple TV+ and yes, YouTube TV. It also offers a customizable home screen, mobile remote, search capabilities via voice or keyboard and the ability to save shows for later. It’s all conceived to let you watch sports, movies and more during barbecues, hot-tubbing, outdoor movie nights and other activities. It’s now available for $1,300 at Walmart.com.

Netflix to expand audio descriptions and subtitles in 10 additional languages

Netflix will expand its accessibility features in 10 additional languages, part of an effort to accommodate users who are hearing and vision-impaired. Starting this month and through early 2023, Netflix will roll out Audio Descriptions (AD), Subtitles …

What we bought: Why Daily Harvest became my go-to meal delivery service

Like many people, my food insecurity got pretty serious in April 2020. Cities and businesses all across America were shutting down, while grocery stores and delivery services started to run out of food. Everywhere I looked — whether it was Amazon, Inst…

Framework brings 12th-generation Intel Core chips to its modular laptop

Framework’s modular, do-it-yourself laptop has won the hearts and minds of plenty of laptop fans and right-to-repair-types alike. A year after launch, the company is back to offer the biggest test of its long term viability as a computer company: Chip …

HP’s premium laptop revamp: more OLED displays, 12th-gen Intel CPUs

While you may not have gotten around to spring cleaning, HP certainly has. Today the company is essentially refreshing its entire premium laptop portfolio with a bunch of new Envy and Spectre notebooks – both clamshells and 2-in-1s.The two stars of the…

Audi will integrate Apple Music into ‘nearly all’ of its newer models

Audi owners can now play Apple Music through their infotainment systems without having to connect it to their iPhones via Bluetooth or USB. The luxury automaker has rolled out Apple Music integration for almost all of its newer vehicles in Europe, North America and Japan, starting with the 2022 model year. Even cars already on the road will get the feature through an automatic over-the-air update. 

After getting the app on their infotainment systems, Audi owners simply need to fire it up, follow the onscreen instructions and type in the Apple ID login they use for Apple Music. The system will send a verification code to their phones that they have to key in, but that’s pretty much it for the setup process. In Europe, owners can enjoy the first 3GB of streaming free of charge and will be billed the subsequent cellular data streaming costs through a data package available from Cubic-Telekom. 

Audi vehicles already come with Apple’s CarPlay — it started bundling the software with its European vehicles in 2015 and with its North American vehicles a year later. Through CarPlay, users can connect their phones to their infotainment systems to get directions optimized for traffic, make calls, send and receive messages and play Apple Music onscreen. This standalone Apple Music rollout, however, makes it a lot easier to access their playlists and all the other available tracks on the service.

Apple’s AirTag four-pack falls to $89

If you’ve got a bunch of items you need to protect from theft or loss, you can now pick up a four-pack of Apple’s AirTags at Amazon and Best Buy for $89, or $10 (10 percent) off. We’ve seen them a little bit cheaper recently, but it’s still a good time to act if you missed the last deal. 

Buy Apple AirTags 4-pack at Amazon – $89Buy Apple AirTags 4-pack at Best Buy – $89

For Apple users, AirTags deliver significant advantages over Tile and other trackers. The ultra-wideband feature offers precise tracking with iPhone 11 or later devices when you’re reasonably close, so you can narrow your search between a bed and night table in the same bedroom. Over wider distances, the Apple device AirTag networks lets you track down an object you might have misplaced in a bar, for instance.

AirTags use a simple coin-sized design and offer a seamless experience via the Find My app. You can also force an AirTag to emit a chime to help you pinpoint an object’s location, and that chime is now loader than ever thanks to a recent update.

It does lack a built-in keyring like rival trackers, so you’ll need to pay extra for that. And it only works with Apple devices, so Android users will need to look elsewhere. However, if you’re in Apple’s ecosystem, you can pick up four at a discount — just remember that the deal ends today.

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